Failure in creating a good flow of paragraphs is often the reason why a text might be difficult to follow. ❌ If a writer begins sentences with new elements of information, readers may be unable to relate them to what they already know. 😩
To generate a good flow of paragraphs, you must create proper links between sentences. To achieve that, place our ideas in a specific order. ✔ In particular, start each sentence with something GIVEN (already introduced or known) and end it with something NEW. This way, you create a Given–New–Given–New–Given–New motif that orients the reader throughout the whole text. 😃
Before: Farmers try to improve growing conditions for crops by using additives to adjust soil pH. Garden lime is made from pulverized chalk, and can be used to raise the pH of the soil. Clay, which is a naturally acidic soil type, often require addition of garden lime. ➥
After: Farmers try to improve growing conditions for crops by using additives to adjust soil pH. One way to raise soil pH is by adding pulverized chalk in the form of garden lime. Garden lime is often added to naturally acidic soils, such as clay.
Finally, the Given-New order makes it easier for readers to see how each new piece of information fits into what they already know.
This material is based on the following resources with some additions and modifications from Gavin Lucas and Valeria Di Giacomo.
- Gopen GD, Swan JA, 1990. The science of scientific writing. Am Scientist.